I attended the Good Food Festival last weekend at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and discovered that many Midwesterners are hard at work, creating delicious specialty food items to make our lives easier, happier and healthier. A couple of them are likely to be carried soon at Whole Foods, so keep an eye out…you’re getting a sneak peak and fresh-out-of-the-kitchen notice. Below are a few of my favorites I’ve rounded up from Chicago creators and beyond:


Grassfed Gourmet’s Cocoghee

Cocoghee’s organic coconut oil and grassfed ghee, or clarified butter (a process of removing the milk proteins from butter, which increases the smokepoint and is typically better tolerated than butter among people sensitive to dairy/butter) come in a variety of handcrafted flavors. I tried the plain version, which has a natural subtle sweetness, but other creative combinations include sweet pairings like honey cinnamon, mocha hazelnut and vanilla cardamom, and savory couplings like rosemary garlic and garlic and salt. You might start to see them lining Midwestern Whole Foods Markets soon! Receive a 10% discount with first orders using the code “justask.” gfgcocoghee.com


Kitchfix Grain-Free Waffles

Kitchfix is a mostly paleo-style meal delivery service and snack maker. Their paleo, oat-free granolas are sold at local Whole Foods and I’ve tried their delivery service with a changing menu of high-quality ingredients and tasty, nutrition-packed meal options. On a recent Whole Foods visit, I noticed several varieties of grain-free waffles–one sweetened only with bananas, made with coconut and almond flours and topped with an almond-flavored finish. They’re hearty, filling and perfect as a breakfast, snack or dessert. kitchfix.com


Skinny Souping

Skinny Souping focuses on eating soup rather than smoothies or juices to detox the body. Their soups combine flavored alkaline waters and soup blends for maximum nutritiion. Check out founder Alison Velazquez’s book Souping for more information on this trend. Try any of the soothing varieties: turmeric ginger broth, butternut squash coconut curry, rosemary white bean and leek, and zucchini fennel. These will be hitting retail stores like Whole Foods in the near future! skinnysouping.com

What else is happening here in Chicago? Pop-up sustainable dinners, waste-free restaurants and a bookstore devoted to all things food.

Community Dining founder Paul Sippl brings people together several times a month for discussions and interactions with others who appreciate good food. His dinners are hosted in and highlight restaurants, people and food products that not only taste great, but are making a difference in the edible world in a variety of avenues, by giving back, working in sustainable ways and closing the food loop. Learn more or sign up for an event here.

Range Kitchen aims for a zero-waste kitchen in addition to serving up mouthwatering farm to table, seasonally changing food. Their community nights offer a space to mingle and chat with like-minded individuals, and they donate 20% of the sales to Chicago organizations. rangechicago.com

Read it and Eat is a Lincoln Park bookstore that focuses on cookbooks and other essays, biographies and more relating to food and drinks. They also boast an extensive events calendar with a wide range of food-related demos, book signings, cooking classes and more. It’s a beautiful space with a state-of-the-art kitchen that’s any foodie’s dream. readitandeatstore.com

Source of images from Grassfed Gourmet, Kitchfix and Skinny Souping.

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